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The Student-Run News Site of Westside High School in Omaha, Nebraska. Keeping you WIRED in to all things Westside.

Westside Wired

The Student-Run News Site of Westside High School in Omaha, Nebraska. Keeping you WIRED in to all things Westside.

Westside Wired

The Student-Run News Site of Westside High School in Omaha, Nebraska. Keeping you WIRED in to all things Westside.

Westside Wired

The Lisa Ellis Warrior Invite

The Warrior Swim and Dive Invational will change its name to the Lisa Ellis Warrior Invite in memory of the late assistant coach Lisa Ellis

The annual Warrior Swim and Dive Invitational will be held on Friday Jan. 26, and Saturday Jan. 27 and will be a bitter sweet event for the Westside swim program. It is the last year they will be using the current pool before renovations take place. The invitational will also take a new name honoring the late coach Lisa Ellis. Head coach Andy Rider supports the change of the name because of the legacy Ellis left in the swimming program.  

“Going forward, we’re going to rename the invite to the Lisa Ellis Warrior Invitational,” Rider said. “Lisa was someone really special to this program.” 

Ellis passed away in December after battling with cancer for 20 years. Ellis spent over 40 years of her coaching career as an assistant coach at Westside. While being a mentor, friend and coach, she focused on the foundational swimmers and encouraging them to enjoy and love the sport of swimming. 

“The renaming is a special way to do that,” Rider said. “She’s looking down on us and is still coaching from wherever she is right now. She was a true warrior.”

Changing of the name is not the only difference being made. The location of this annual invite is also being changed.

“This is the last year we’ll have the Warrior Invite at this pool,” Rider said. “Moving forward, we’ll get the new facility the year after next so it’ll be special,”

This year, the invite will consist of 11 teams coming from all around the state. Rider is excited for the new competition that will be joining the invite. 

“Last year and for as long as we can remember, Ralston has always come here,” Rider said. “However, Ralston decided to go to a different meet this year so Lincoln East will be taking their place.”

Having so many teams from across the state as it serves as a preview to the state meet. 

“It’s a great gauge,” Rider said. “We use this meet to propel us to the Metros which are in two weeks, and then to State which is a month away. We want to see kids swim fast. We want to see kids compete. It’s a high level meet and is good competition on both sides.”

Every year, the invitational has a great turnout and Rider is looking forward to this one’s event.

“The atmosphere is great,” Rider said. “We have packed stands every year and the competition is great.”

As the season winds down, the invite is a last chance meet for many swimmers who are trying to get state cuts to swim at the state meet. Rider’s goal is to make accommodations so has many swimmers can qualify as possible.

“There are some kids that have more prime events than others so we may move things around to accommodate them,” Rider said. “This is so that they can get a last swim and one of their events that would get them closest to qualifying for state.”

With recent success taking down Marian, the girls swim team is hoping to continue their success at their home invite. There will be some big competition at the state preview, however.

“Lincoln East girls and Marian girls are obviously good,” Rider said. “Because of this, it’s a good competition for the girls of our team.”

Rider owes a lot of the success to the experience and leadership on the girls team.

“We have great leadership,” Rider said. “Right now, we have seven senior girls. Every single one plays a role on this team and they train hard every day together.”

As the boys team season winds down, Rider reflects on how far the team has come since November.

“The boys, at the beginning of season, were novices,“ Rider said. “We now have good leadership that is returning from the senior and junior classes.”

After taking second place to rival Creighton Prep, the boys team has learned a lot and has developed a mindset that they can compete at a higher level of competition.

“This last meet against Prep, I saw a huge shift in our team,” Rider said. “After the meet, I saw this shift towards thinking, ‘we can do this. We can be good. We can compete at a very high level.’”

Both the boys and girls swim teams have high hopes for the upcoming invite. For complete live streaming coverage of the swimming portion of the Invitational, look at Westside Wired or Warrior Television on YouTube. 

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About the Contributor
Ryan Kelly, Sports J Associate editor, WTV Live Director
Hey all my name is Ryan, I am the Editor in Chief for Sports J editor and I like animal crackers.
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